It would take multiple visits to fully appreciate this sprawling–as in 13-acres of Central Park sprawling–collection of over 5,000 years of art from every corner of the world. As one of the biggest museums in the world, the gorgeous late 19th century neo-classical institution displays some of the finest examples of art spanning from mummified royalty of ancient times to avant garde fashion couture from last year’s runway. Visitors young and old are mesmerized by the Temple of Dendur, an Egyptian temple from 10 B.C. that was transposed from its Nile-side location to the bright, sun drenched Sackler Wing overlooking a reflective pool. Other highlights include the impressive array of European and Asian armor, Grecian sculptures, medieval art and contemporary photography. After hours of exploring relax by a fountain in the indoor sculpture garden or ponder what it all means in the Astor Chinese Garden Court, nestled off the Asian Art galleries. Advanced online tickets will allow museum-goers to skip the lines, but, word of warning you’ll have to pay the full suggested donation ($25, seniors $17, students $12). Budget-conscious art fans should come early on weekdays, pay what they wish and come often–the special exhibits change every few months and vary from big-name retrospective block busters to displays of little-known gems.
When it comes to art museums, New York City suffers from an embarrassment of riches, with some of the greatest institutions in the world located right here in Gotham. Among them: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum—the big three of NYC art museums. Each is an iconic destination that draws millions of visitors from all over the globe, and it’s easy to see why. The Metropolitan Museum, for example, houses 5,000 years of art, with everything from Ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman treasures to Renaissance and Impressionist masterpieces. The Met even has fabulous holdings of modern and contemporary objects, though, admittedly, MoMA is the go-to place on that score with what is arguably the most comprehensive collection of 20th- and 21st century art in the world. The Guggenheim is no slouch when showcasing modern artworks as well, especially its hoard of abstract paintings by Wassily Kandinsky. But the icing on the cake remains the Gugg’s nautilus-shaped home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. With its breathtaking interior rotunda, the Guggenheim is Wright’s only major building here, making in one of most important structures in New York, if not the entire world. Yet as amazing as they are, The Met, the Modern and the Guggenheim represent only the tip of the iceberg, as NYC boasts dozens more art museums, spread across the Five Boroughs—including must-see destinations in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. They all have amazing artworks to offer, so if you want to know more, check out our list of top art museums in NYC. And don’t miss out our guide of free museum days, as well as our recommendations for the 101 very best things to do in NYC.